Although the retirement of Entergy (NYSE: ETR)’s Vermont Yankee nuclear power station will not affect grid reliability, it will lead to a greater dependence on natural gas as a fuel for generating power, ISO New England stated in a release.
“While earlier studies showed that reliability could be affected without Vermont Yankee, the most recent study in 2012 showed that the regional power grid could be operated reliably without Vermont Yankee,” the grid operator stated. “This was due to new system conditions including the development of some new resources acquired through the region’s capacity market, completion of some previously planned transmission upgrades and the demand-reducing effects of energy-efficiency measures.”
The retirement of the plant, one of the region’s largest power plants and one of four nuclear stations providing baseload power to New England, will increase the area’s dependence on natural gas, however. According to the ISO, natural gas produced more than 52 percent of the energy in New England last year, while nuclear power generated 31 percent of the region’s electricity.
Entergy listed the low price of natural gas as one of the deciding factors in retiring the plant.
ISO New England stated it did not favor any fuel or technology, but noted it has identified New England’s dependence on natural gas for power generation as key strategic risks and is developing solutions to address the challenge.
The ISO also said it would update its study on the reliability of the grid, but noted it did not have the authority to prevent a resource from retiring regardless of the outcome.